A backpacker from Liverpool who was arrested for spraying ‘Scousse Lee’ on an 800-year-old Thai fortress has admitted he’s an idiot.
Lee Furlong, who is facing a fine up to £23,500 or up to 10 years in jail, has said from his hotel in Chiang Mai, he’s ‘devastated’ he did something ‘that stupid’ after a night of drinking.
He told DailyMail: ‘I had been having such an amazing time here. The best time of my life. I’m just devastated that I’ve done something so stupid. I’m sorry to all the Thai people that have been offended by it. I’ve been an idiot.’
The 23-year-old, who was due to return home on Sunday, said he’s ‘terrified’ for what will happen now.
‘I’d been drinking all day. I’d had some bad news from my family and I went out drinking. I mean, I was really, really drunk.
‘I saw the spray can and just picked it up. Honestly, I didn’t know what I was doing. When I woke up the police were there.’
Grandma Elizabeth Kendrick said Lee had turned his ‘life around’ before the trip.
She told Metro.co.uk: ‘He’s turned his life around. He’s been good for about two years, he was just on holiday, but he’s a different guy once he’s had a drink.
Elizabeth said his visa expires on Sunday, but following the incident, she’s not sure when she’ll get to see her grandson again.
She added: ‘I spoke to his mum yesterday and she very distraught as you can imagine.
‘We just want to get him home. We need him home. We’re waiting to hear back from the embassy, we have a friend there who is trying to get the embassy involved to get him hom.
‘He’s facing a big fine or jail. We’re on pensions and his mum just has a little job.’
A manhunt was launched for Lee and he was arrested with Brittney Schneider, from Canada, who was with him at the time at the Mad Monkey Hostel.
They said that they found the spray can on the ground and decided to spray the wall as a ‘prank’.
The pair of 23-year-olds were frog-marched to the site where they confessed to the crime and have been told they could face up to 10 years in prison for desecrating a historical site.
Lieutenant Colonel Teerasak Sriprasert: ‘The graffiti says “Scousse Lee”. This means “Scouser Lee from Liverpool”. The girl is called Brittney and she wrote a letter “B” on the wall.
‘Officers investigated the vandalism after it was seen on CCTV cameras. The offenders were tracked to a guest house near the same road as the wall. The accused will be investigated and prosecuted according to the law.’
He added: ‘The accused were questioned and confessed that the incident happened earlier in the morning at 4am.’
In CCTV footage, Lee can be seen spraying Scousse before Brittney wrote B. Lee then finished his tag with ‘Lee’.
The pair only stopped when a passing tuk-tuk driver intervened and told them off, at which point they left the spray can walked back to the hostel.
Tha Phae gate is part of a crumbling wall was built in the 13th century as a fortress to protect the city of Chiang Mai.
It is the centre of tourism in the bustling northern city popular with backpackers and is surrounded by bars, restaurants, hotels, markets, massage parlours and shops.
The wall has since been cleaned.